Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Eww, gross! Wanna see??

Check out what we found in our bathroom the other day! No, seriously, check it out.

Warning: It's a bug. And if you click on the picture, it gets bigger. And grosser.

The Cost of Living

Curling iron: $13

Time to curl my hair this morning: 10 minutes

Leaving my umbrella in the car and getting rained on so the curl didn't even last the time it took to walk from my car to my office: Priceless

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

and while we're on the subject of celebrating the small victories...

I bawled my eyes out to my dear friend and former roommate Jamie last night, and she shared with me a little tip that has helped her in her efforts to stick to a schedule and get the things on "the list" done.

She makes the lists - the "to do" list, but breaks it up into "MUST do today" and "would be nice if it got done today," etc. And makes a schedule so she can stick to the list. I feel like I've worked on that.

BUT! The kicker is this - at the end of the day, she goes over the list and records her SUCCESSES from that day - the things she DID accomplish. And even if they weren't on any of the lists, she still wrote them down. The day can't be a total failure if you have a whole list of things you succeeded at!

And I am SO going to do this! I was thinking this weekend about how I need to stop focusing on what I am NOT getting done and pay more attention to what I AM getting done, just so I don't make myself mental. Accentuate the positive, baby! :)

So here's my "check me out with my productive self" list from yesterday:
Ok, so I DID accomplish some things yesterday. Today will be better!

Blog out.

Monday, March 27, 2006

This weekend...

...I did my dishes. And at this point, people, we are DEFINITELY celebrating the small victories.

On to the thesis!

Friday, March 24, 2006

feeling the need to communicate

My gChat status right now reads: "failing miserably in my attempts to focus my brain on that #%*@ thesis stuff" but the little box that shows your status is so small that all you can see without mousing over it is "failing miserably." Pretty much.

And I am editing a lesson plan from a workshop that I teach, and stopped typing mid-word to fix something else in the lesson plan, and when I came back to the word I had stopped mid- of, the word was "demonstration," and my sentence read, "This was a demon"

And I feel like that should mean that it's time to stop for the day.

This was a demon.

Blog out.

Ok, except for this: What if I do? Fail miserably, I mean. What if what I have developed for this Master's project really isn't good enough, or even just enough, to allow me to graduate? What do I do then? Erg.

Blog out, take 2.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

early morning

So I have this great goal to go to bed before 11 and get up before 7. And last night I went to bed at 11:30, which I feel like is really practically almost success. And it is certainly progress.

So when my alarm went off at 6, I didn't get up, but I also didn't really sleep anymore after that. I dozed for 9 minutes at a time, between hitting the snooze button, and got up at 7. But it was actually kind of a nice hour. I have a window in my room that faces south, and when I am lying in bed I am facing that window, so I got to watch the sky turn colors as the sun rose - from the darkish that it was at 6 to the sunlight leaking over the mountains (ahh! now you know I live in a state with mountains! ;) ) to the almost white light of the actual dayish part of the morning. It was cool. And I discovered that if I pull the blind on that window almost all the way up, as I did last night before going to bed, I can actually see the moon from my bed in those early morning hours. THAT is really cool.

(And that reminds me of when my family went on vacation to France in 1996(?), and we bragged to our friends when we got back that we could see the Eiffel Tower from our Paris hotel. And it was true! If you went up into the loft, where my parents' bed was, and stood on a table, and leeaanneed out the skylight, you could TOTALLY see the Eiffel Tower. Well, ok, the very tip of the Eiffel Tower. But still!)

But seeing the moon was cool, and I think I want to go to bed that early, or earlier, and continue to wake up that early because the early morning light was refreshing, and seeing the moon was peaceful, and not feeling like I wanted to DIE of fatigue when I woke up was a bonus. :)

But that almost-awake state is weird sometimes. This time I "dreamt" that two of my guy friends (one at a time) were in my room, sitting on my bed, talking to me. Uh, yeah, that's never happened in real life, so that was weird. And then this poem that my mom and I made up about my junior high band teacher kept running through my head. (I didn't practice my trumpet, so I felt like he was "mean.") Where did THAT come from?!

But my feet were cozy because of my (beloved) (dearly beloved) electric blanket, the sun was rising, the moon was shining in my window, and I LIKED it.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


So I'm at work, and I just wrote myself the following reminder:

"Fix LP outline from CLS PP."

And then laughed and shared it with my coworker because it was funny to me that half the words in that note (3 out of 6, yes, that is half, and yes, I did just stop to recount) were acronyms.

And my coworker laughed, too, and said, "Aren't acronyms amazing?"

And then a minute later he said: "Triple A!"

Me: confused look

Him: Aren't Acronyms Amazing.

Me: Aaa...

Both of us: bwahahahahaha

(Do ya get it, do ya get it?! When I reacted to his triple A acronym it was with a realization noise that was all A's, just like his acronym, do ya get it? Do ya? do ya? Isn't that funny?!... OK, Marge, back to work.)

Monday, March 20, 2006

I don't have time for this

For any of it. For my life.

I owe good, long phone calls to three really close friends, and visits to a couple more.

I need to wash my sheets, and the kitchen towels.

I need to put in enough hours at work to earn next month's rent AND to get things ready so that when I leave this campus in May my replacement doesn't curse me for not preparing her and our office records well enough.

I need to Drain-o my shower and wash the bathmats. I need to do my dishes.

I need to call my mom back about my birthday dinner. I need to plan my party, make a flyer, send it out. I need to plan the menu and make sure I have enough help to make it all.

I need to find a job. And housing. In another state.

I need to be done with my thesis - written, defended, revised, published - in time to go to CA in May when my sister's 4th baby is born.

I don't have time to breathe.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Apparently I have nothing to say today

So singing in the bathroom has been a recurring theme in my life lately.
  • I sang in my little teeny-tiny bathroom the other day.
  • I heard a girl singing in one of the hugely cavernous bathrooms in our campus library.
  • I sang in the shower this morning while I blasted "Wicked" from the stereo in the dining room.
And yes, three occurrences totally qualifies it as a recurring theme. Just like when I cook something that requires more than three ingredients it qualifies as "complicated" and I get a medal. Apparently three is the magic number in my life. And 9. And 27. Like when I'm exaggerating I'll usually say "9 million" or "27 million." As in, "There were 27 million people in line for Divine Comedy tickets yesterday morning." Or "Why is it that when I know 9 million people in this town who play volleyball I could only get FIVE together to play last night?"

But I digress.

Why do we sing in the bathroom?

Here are the reasons I came up with:
  1. We think we are alone.
  2. The acoustics make it sound cool.
I hereby officially propose that we all burst into song in public as well as in private.

Ya know, like in musicals. Or Bollywood movies. (Yes, I wrote this in Hindi class.) If you feel a song coming on, just signal to the maestro or DJ or dude-walking-by-with-the-stereo-built-into -his-backpack (no, really, I've seen him more than once on campus. But not lately.) and BRING IT ON! Musicals and Bollywood movies would be...weird...if the characters waited until they were alone in the bathroom to sing. Especially if they waited until they were alone in my bathroom. It's so small that you can't be anything but alone in it, but then, see, the film crew wouldn't fit, and a musical number behind a closed or partially open (it only ever opens partially--the toilet is in the way) door would be...awkward. Physically and emotionally. And weird. And wouldn't sell movies. Plus, the tap dancing along to your song would be hard in my bathroom. Limited space and all.

I hereby officially state that not all bathrooms are conducive to singing in the bathroom.

Whew. Now it's official. I feel so much better.

Monday, March 13, 2006

One of these things is not like the others - thank goodness!

I just spent about an hour and a half, while also observing a second-semester Tahitian class, attempting to compose a post about fear and adulthood and my current attempts to enter one while leaving the other behind. (I'll leave it to you to decide what I want to do with what.)

I struggled with word choice, paragraph order, and the "main idea" that I wanted to convey. I rewrote the title, rambled in search of a "main idea," lost it, came back to it, changed it, deleted the whole first section...and then it hit me - I wasn't enjoying it! So I gave up.

Now lest you think that I am just a big, selfish, self-serving, instant pleasure-seeking, whining quitter, let me 'splain.

Right now in my life, writing is not relaxing for me. I am, in case you haven't noticed, trying to write my thesis. Nay, let us be positive and confident, even in our complaining. (Let us speak in the third person.) (Let us also use the word "nay" more often.) As our good friend Yoda would say, "Do, or do not. There is no 'try.'"

I AM writing my thesis.

So, like the woman said, I am, in case you haven't noticed, in the process of writing my thesis. And that means doing all of this...

"I struggled with word choice, paragraph order, and the "main idea" that I wanted to convey. I rewrote the title, rambled in search of a "main idea," lost it, came back to it, changed it, deleted the whole first section..."

...all day every day. Or at least, that's what I'm supposed to be doing all day every day. And today, it was kind of frustrating. So then what do I do to relax? I write.


Don't do, to relax, the same thing that you're supposed to do all day that makes you stressed out! DO. SOMETHING. DIFFERENT. I really thought I learned this lesson a while ago, but apparently I still gots me some larnin' to do, folks.

So the firm unswerving policy of today is that this blog will not be used to post about anything that requires any amount of thought to write about. I will not edit blog posts (except for spelling, because I am just that OCD and 'perfectionalistic,' as Heather said), I will not meditate deeply for hours on end about an appropriate topic about which to post, which will allow me to sound clever and intelligent and deep and inspire lots of people to both change the world and be my new best friend. I will just post. I will just vent. I will just express whatever is in there that I can't write in academic-ese but that NEEDS TO BE SAID.

But right now, I will just go eat some food and then I will just go play some volleyball, which, you may notice, is nothing like writing a thesis. In fact, I can't think of one similar thing between writing a thesis and playing volleyball. Phew!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Ode to my one grey hair

Why are you there?

And more specifically, why are you there? Right in front, and right on my part? And why do you insist on being short enough not to be pulled back into my ponytail?

And CURLY?? Where did that come from? Why are you curly? None of the rest of my hairs feel the need to do that, even when I put the heat on. Literally. Why are you so curly that you won't even LAY FLAT AND HIDDEN? Oh, no, not you, you nasty grey hair you. You have to stick out and tweak away from my head and be REALLY OBVIOUS. And you're too short to pull out with my fingers - I can't get a good grip on you. And then when I'm around tweezers you hide.

Why all these efforts at self-preservation?


What's with my guilt, anyway?!

Ok, so on my way into the library just now I passed many campaigners for the student gov't election. The primaries ended the other day, now we're in the final election. And one campaigner, sporting arm bands and lapel pins in the color of his chosen campaign, said to me, "Have you voted yet?"

To which I responded, firmly, as I continued on my way into the library, "No. And I don't plan to. Thanks, though. And good luck to you."

And he looked slightly abashed and said, "That's ok."

And I entered the library, feeling like a complete jerk.

WHY?! What's WITH that?!?

Was I too rude?? Did I say "no" too firmly?? Did I just diminish or destroy the entire purpose of his life??? I certainly hope not! I may have said no firmly, but I wanted that to be the end of his attempt to get me to vote. I didn't want to give him any excuse to attempt to continue the conversation. Oh wait - it wasn't a conversation! He just asked me a leading question as I went to work on my thesis. And I even resisted the temptation to stop and burden him with "my political statement on the (in)effectiveness of said student government" - I just said no and moved on. C'mon, give me some credit here, people!


Ok, fine, so...sorry, guy. Sorry if I hurt your feelings, even though the student gov't for which you are campaigning hasn't done anything that has significantly affected my life in all my years at this school. Sorry if I shattered your warm, fuzzy feeling that all students here care about the student gov't elections. Sorry that I am an apathetic leech who sucks everything she can out of this school but doesn't give anything back in the "voting for student gov't" category. I may seem like an uncaring leech, guy, but I give in lots of other ways...

no, really, I am a contributing member of this campus community...

really... I do...stuff...that, uh, matters...


It's just this guilt thing. *sigh* Say no and move on, Margaret, say no and move on.

P.S. Did you ever notice that "sorry" is one of those words that looks really weird when you write it a bunch of times in a row?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

What will they think of next?!

I have been on this campus for several years, and so have witnessed several years worth of student government elections.

Disclaimer: This will not be a treatise on university student government. If you would like my political statement on the (in)effectiveness of said student government, feel free to email me. The thing I most remember is that one year they managed to shut down a really funny on-campus improv group. Go team! Oh, wait...

(Later that year another on-campus comedy troupe did a Lord of the Rings spoof in which the student gov't was compared to the Ents, the difference being that after they took a really long time to talk about things and not say much, the Ents actually ACCOMPLISHED THINGS.)

But I really want to talk about the campaigning this year. It was the most extreme that I have ever seen, and I feel like it was an interesting study in human nature.

And who started the craziness, I wonder? Which team decided first to host a little dance party outside one corner of the student center? (Did the types of music they chose to play send a message about their campaign goals?? I TOTALLY should have listened more carefully to those lyrics!) Did the other teams get together each night and say, "Oh my gosh, did you see what _____ did? We TOTALLY need to do something BIGGER AND BETTER or they'll get all the attention and all the votes!"

One team had a big huge banner, another had handheld signs to be held overhead, another had people walking around wearing spray-painted cardboard boxes. I saw students with armbands the color of the spray-painted boxes. One day all the people campaigning for a given team wore dress shirts and ties - even the girls. People wore shirts the colors of the various campaigns. And today - the last day of the voting, I felt like the campaign teams all went all out - shouting the names of their candidates more than on previous days, playing music and dancing, and to top it off - twin violin-playing boys dressed in suits, standing on a big make-shift stage, playing jigs and chanting election information.


Did they feel like they had to each be really unique in their, in their what? advertizing? Oh, campaigning would be the word I want. Did that one team feel like they couldn't use handheld placards because the other team had used handheld placards? Well, I guess THAT worked - I now know the candidates not by their platforms, but by their campaigning techniques.

And I think they all HAD platforms...

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Life, such as it is

I just can't help feeling like there is a wide, wide world out there, if I could just make it past chapter 2.

So the graduate student association sold t-shirts last week that say this on the back:

You might be a grad student if...
  1. You find yourself explaining to childen that you are in "20th grade."
  2. You have accepted guilt as an inherent feature of relaxation.
  3. You start refering to stories like "Snow White et al."
  4. Everything reminds you of something in your discipline.
  5. You look forward to summers because you're more productive without the distraction of classes.
  6. You regard ibuprofen as a vitamin.
  7. You appreciate the fact that you get to choose which 20 hours out of each day you have to work.
  8. You are startled to meet people who neither need nor want to read.
  9. You look forward to taking some time off to do laundry.
  10. You wonder if APA style allows you to cite talking to yourself as "personal communication."
(If you're not totally busting up laughing right now, I don't want to talk to you anymore.)

I'm totally there on #2, and #4, and I've felt that way about #5 for a while now, and #7 has become more and more real to me as I have more and more tightly scheduled my days, some days with more success than others, and I just did laundry yesterday, but I was writing at the same time. And, oh yeah, I've been a #4 junkie for a while, and have actually felt #8 since elementary school, so those aren't necessarily just because I'm a grad student, but they are part of my life. :)

And here are more, from my recent personal experience as a grad student:

11. You talk to your friends on gmail chat, but not in real life, because gChat you can do in the library between finding references and finishing up #$@%* chapter 2.
12. You actually did see your roommate yesterday, but only because she came to your office.
13. You have reverted to the "wearing clothes only to avoid being naked" style that you were accused of at one point in your past, because trying to decide on anything cute requires brain power, and you have to reserve all of yours for the thesis. Jeans, sneakers, a t-shirt and a hoodie requires no brains at all.
14. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is the only exercise you dare try to fit into your day. (I don't need any more procrastination / distraction techniques.)
15. You can find the volume of "Applied Linguistics" that you need in the library without checking your notes for the, what's that called?, filing number?, not Dewey decimal? whatever. You know what I mean.
16. You measure your worth in hours spent on the thesis that day.
17. You are not as brave as Jenna and actually turn off your wireless while thesisizing--those gChats might be the only human interaction you have that day.
18. You consider gChatting human interaction.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

things that make me smile inside

(Inspired by Jenna's post of today)
  1. big snowflakes
  2. little kids being excited
  3. watching spring hail from just inside an open door
  4. eating pizza in my kitchen while Josh and John dance to "Oklahoma" with their mouths full
  5. my 7-year-old niece wanting to live near my parents, and saying, "I love it! I love it! Let's buy it!" about any house in the same state
  6. Alysha telling me she likes to hear me babble
  7. Kaleb asking, "Where's Margaret?" when he got home because he expected and wanted me to be there
  8. Jamie calling to check up on my thesis progress and specifying in her voicemail that she was calling when it was NOT "thesis time" as noted on the schedule I sent out to friends and family
  9. pretty much anything Tabitha says
  10. having my parents live close enough that I can go have dinner at their house
  11. Brant's suggestion that we go back to Buc for the 26 May 2006 opening of X-Men 3 since it'll be our 3 year anniversary of having seen X-Men 2 in Romanian the day it came out over there
  12. Being cited on someone else's blog
  13. Scotty sending me a "Happy Texas Independence Day!" e-card
  14. climbing into a nice warm bed in an ice cold house
  15. Ok, this also makes me smile, but in a different way: blasting Alanis in the car on the way to school with all my windows down
  16. Edited to add: Hearing that my niece's school was cancelled today because of snow. In northern CA. A half of an inch fell. And stayed on rooftops but not roads. And they cancelled school. And tonight's church meetings. Gotta love it.